'He lied to them': Mar-a-Lago affidavit suggests Donald Trump made false statements to attorneys
On Tuesday, September 13, federal Judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed additional parts of the affidavit that was used as the basis for the FBI’s August 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach, Florida. Although a heavily redacted version of the affidavit had been released in August, attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) pushed for more parts of the affidavit to be unsealed — and on September 13, they were.
New details in the affidavit that have been made publicly available, legal experts allege, indicate that Trump may have made false or misleading statements to his attorneys — who repeated them to DOJ officials.
Business Insider’s Tom Porter reports, “According to the newly-released information, one Trump attorney told the DOJ ‘he was not advised there were any records in any private office space or other locations in Mar-a-Lago.’ A lawyer for Trump, Christina Bobb, also signed a statement saying that all of the information requested by the government had been handed back. That information turned out to be false. When agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, they found stashes of highly confidential records, including in Trump's offices, haphazardly kept alongside his personal items. Analysts say the new evidence indicates Trump himself was likely behind the attorney’s false claims.”
One of the legal experts who has weighed in on the newly unsealed parts of the affidavit is Joyce White Vance, a University of Alabama law professor and former federal prosecutor who is a frequent guest on MSNBC.
Vance told MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace — who served as White House communications director under President George W. Bush — “There's more of an implication in this newly released information that the former president did play a role in the provision of information about documents to whoever the lawyer was who certified this information to the Justice Department. There's this implication that documents were stored in storage areas and that there was nothing in personal offices, and that seems like the sort of information that would have been very likely to come from the former president. So, this gives DOJ more of the basis to move forward.”
David Laufman, a former DOJ counterintelligence official, also believes that the affidavit indicates that Trump gave his attorneys false information. Laufman told MSNBC, “I think it's more likely than not that he lied to them knowing that they were going to transmit those lies to the government.”
Law professor Ryan Goodman has weighed in as well. In a Twitter thread posted on September 13, Goodman posted, “NEW Trump lawyer told DOJ/FBI ‘he was advised’ all White House records were in MAL storage room, and ‘he was not advised’ any records were in any private office space. Most likely points to ... being advised by his client, Donald Trump. Less redacted Affidavit just released.”
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